EdCamps Are Like a Box of Chocolates!

Ok, Forrest Gump fans, you know where I am going with this. The unpredictable nature of EdCamps can intimidate some, but pique the curiosity and passion of others who attend. Showing up on a precious Saturday to roll the dice on what will be shared, discussed, and/or learned isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you haven’t tried it, I strongly encourage you to unwrap this delicious box of chocolates and take a bite! (sorry, not sorry,  for all the mixed metaphors!)

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 2.15.49 PMLast weekend I attended EdCampWME (Western Maine) in the beautiful western mountains of my state. I lucked out with winter weather that was cold but dry to make the hour drive from my home. The group was by no means great in size, but they made up for that in passion and professionalism. Everyone there wanted to be there-wanted to learn and share ideas. When one of the organizers is Dan Ryder (Wicked Decent Learning), co-author of Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom, you know it’s going to be a great event.img_6923

As usual we created our idea board and merged some topics to create some inclusive groups and then found our rooms and found our voices. I shared resources, research and ideas on sketchnoting and the use of visual images in writing because I believe so strongly that expanding our definition of writing will create and engage more writers.

I met with teachers discussing topics on building independence and on reluctant learners and we shared ideas for engagement and expectations that led to some powerful discussions about the importance of teaching the whole child and the social-emotional aspects of learning/learners.

I came away with a great lesson on teaching about fairness, equity, and differentiation to children who sometimes complain, “That’s not fair! He gets to______ and I don’t!” It’s called the Band-Aid Lesson. I thought it was so powerful that I wrote it up as a lesson plan for my teachers, so you don’t have to go to Teachers Pay Teachers to get it, you can get mine here for free

Band-Aid Lesson

I had no idea I would learn about this or some of the other ideas and resources I walked away with, but my box of chocolates was quite delicious that day. Sure there were a couple of nutty nougat nuggets that I probably won’t nibble, but I could gorge on most of those chocolates for the rest of this year and beyond.

I’ve got two more EdCamps on my radar in the coming month (EdCamp207 and EdCampBoston). Maybe I’ll see some of you there. If you have EdCamps of your own that you are attending please send me the link to your idea boards so I can learn vicariously.

Here are a few of my takeaways from #EDCampWME


One More Off My TBR Stack

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 2.35.27 PMNEW KID by Jerry Craft

WOW! I can see why this book won the Newbery Award this year. I was literally laughing out loud and I am still laughing a few hours later. Jerry Craft has created a brilliant book about the challenges of starting over as a new kid when you are one of the few students of color in the entire school and well-meaning white teachers tell you, “Being different is a blessing. It’s what makes you special.” This story could only be told as a graphic novel as it is expressed with intelligence, insight, and humor that needs to be seen and not ‘explained’. This story, if written as a standard novel, would be like having to explain a joke-it loses its punch and power. This book belongs in classrooms and libraries everywhere. It will enlighten but it will also entertain middle grade to middle aged readers.

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